News Brief

Read Niren Tolsi’s Full Ruth First Memorial Lecture: ‘Fire and Media: Towards a New South African Journalism’

He used fire (as a metaphor) and actual reporting on fire on SA newspapers and websites to interrogate the state of journalism in the country.

Award-winning South African journalist and editor Niren Tolsi delivered the 15th Annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) last night. His paper, titled Fire and Media: Towards a New South African Journalism, focused on the state of South African media.


Tolsi used fire (as a metaphor) and actual reporting on fire on SA newspapers and websites to interrogate the state of journalism in the country. For instance, he made a contrast between two reports about fire that revealed how SA media's reporting is biased towards a certain group of the population.

A formula from @NirenTolsi News vitality = social media X outrage + attention. #ruthfirstpic.twitter.com/hN6unkc1iM

In one report, two black children were burned, and he notes the scantiness of the reports compared to the detail on reports about a fire incident that killed a white family.

In the paper, he also questions if journalists are doing what they are supposed to, for instance giving a voice to the voiceless. He questions their credibility and the reliance on social media to determine what gets reported on, among other things.

An excerpt:

"Is this what journalists do in South Africa in 2018? Are we, as the cliché goes, writing history's first draft? If so, are we writing for future generations and what will their interest in the news be — if any? And in the present, for whose interest do we write the news? Are we mindful of the agendas of our sources? Do we report without fear or favour? Do we speak truth to power regardless of whether it is white capital or "black government"? Do we place a microphone to the mouths of those who are voiceless and extend the public sphere to the marginalised?"

Just like his journalistic work, the lecture is lyrical, critical and erudite.

The Ruth First Memorial Lecture honors Ruth First, a Wits graduate, journalist, activist, researcher, and intellectual. She was killed by a letter-bomb parcel sent by the apartheid government to her office at Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique on 17 August 1982. The Ruth First Memorial Lecture is now known as a podium for some of South Africa's journalists to share new thought on the South African discourse.

Read Niren Tolsi's Ruth First Memorial Lecture here.

Still from 'Road to Yesterday'

Kayode Kasum’s Quarantine Watchlist

From 'Wives on Strike' to 'Goodwill Hunting' here's what the Nigerian filmmaker is watching while stuck at home in Lagos.

Kayode Kasum, like most filmmakers, has been stagnated by the coronavirus pandemic. The director behind the blockbuster Sugar Rush and the critically acclaimed Oga Bolaji was working on the post-production of his upcoming movies, The Fate of Alakada: Party Planner and Kambili—a collaboration between FilmOne Entertainment and Chinese Huahua Media— when the Nigerian government announced the lockdown order.

While post-production on Alakada has concluded, the stay-at-home orders have delayed work on Kambili. "Since the team cannot meet at a single point, we are moving hard drives left and right," he says to me over the phone from his home in Lagos. "It is a challenge, but the beautiful thing about a challenge is, when you make it work, it is fulfilling."

Still from 'Kambili'

Kasum has turned to books and films for an escape from the unpleasant realities of the pandemic. "I have been reading Elnathan's books: Born on a Tuesday and Becoming Nigeria," he tells me. "I have also been reading film directing books, Directing Actors by Judith Weston." However, Kasum longs for the movies. "I miss going to the cinemas; I miss that experience," he says. "There are times during this pandemic that I'm like 'na wa o, I wish I can go to the cinema.'"

Below are five films he recommends you watch during this pandemic.

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Listen to Mr Eazi's New Song 'I No Go Give Up On You'

The Nigerian artist also recently announced an upcoming EP.

Mr Eazi is back with his latest track, 'I No Go Give Up On You," his latest song since the release of "Kpalanga" at the top of the year.

The track, is a mid-tempo love song, with Eazi singing sweetly to his lover about his unwavering feelings for her. He released the track under his ever-growing emPawa initiative, with a humorous visualizer to accompany it. The song was produced by Blaq Jerzee.

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Images courtesy of Universal Music Group.

Def Jam Africa Launches in South Africa and Nigeria

Def Jam Africa launches with a roster of South African and Nigerian hip-hop and Afrobeats artists.

Universal Music Group today announced the launch of Def Jam Africa, a new label division within the continent dedicated to representing the best hip-hop and Afrobeats talent on the continent. According to a press release from UMG, Def Jam Africa will "follow the blueprint of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label, which has led and influenced the cutting-edge in hip-hop and urban culture for more than 35 years."

The label will initially be based in two of the continent's main music and entertainment hubs Joburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, but will identify and sign artist talent from across the entire continent.

Def Jam Africa launches with a roster that includes some of the most successful African talent including Nigeria's Larry Gaaga and Vector alongside South Africa's Boity, Cassper Nyovest, Nadia Nakai, Nasty C, Tshego, Tellaman and Ricky Tyler. A majority of who were already signed to UMG.

Read: 8 Things You Need to Know About Nasty C's Upcoming Album 'Zulu Man With Some Power'

This roster will be supported by dedicated A&R, marketing, creative and digital teams from the UMG teams in both Nigeria and South Africa and will report to Sipho Dlamini, the MD of Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa.

Dlamini shared in a press release that the aim for Def Jam Africa is to become the authentic and trusted home of hip-hop and urban culture in Africa. "Def Jam Recordings has always historically pushed the boundaries of the genre," he said, "and we are excited to create a new community of artists within the continent, shaped around the unique and multi-cultural sounds, rhythms and productions coming from our streets, in order to help elevate hip-hop, afrobeat and trap music from Africa, to reach new global audiences within the continent, across the diaspora and beyond."

Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO for Def Jam Recordings said:

"Def Jam is a globally recognized brand, synonymous with excellence in hip-hop, and we enthusiastically welcome the launch of Def Jam Africa as an opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover the incredibly talented hip-hop artists emerging from across the continent."

Earlier this year, Nasty C announced he would be releasing his third studio album Zulu Man With Some Power through Def Jam Recordings which was a joint venture with Universal Music Africa. New releases from the Def Jam Africa should be expected this year.

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